7 years ago

Volume 5 Issue 5 - February 2000

  • Text
  • February
  • Toronto
  • Theatre
  • Arts
  • Choir
  • Jazz
  • Singers
  • Glenn
  • Gould
  • Violin

0 I rS Choir ~\· ~ Ce~e

0 I rS Choir ~\· ~ Ce~e motets at the Glenn Gould performs all the Bach Studio, which will be subseby Larry Beckwith quently recorded for CBC Programming choral concerts is First off is the important visit to Records). an art .and a challenge. A great Toronto by the Estonian Philhartemptation for music directors is monic Choir. This choir has been The Estonian Choir will also to fall back on the same tried and in operation for 33 years and perform on Feb. 6, with the true classics and themes, i.e. gives approximately 100 concerts Elmer Iseler Singers, the requiems of one kind or another, a year. On February 4, they and Toronto Mendelssohn Youth Handel's Messiah at Christmas their conductor Tonu Kaljuste, Choir and the MacMillan (though less than 5% of the piece along with the Talinn Chamber Singers. The programme has to do with the birth of Orchestra, will be performing the includes Keys to the Unseen (a Christ), Valentine's concerts, Estonian composer Arvo Part's world premiere by Randolph Easter, "Spring has sprung in Kanon pokajanen, which is Peters), Voices (by the masterful May", etc. described as "an epic mystical Harry Freedman) and three There's nothing intrinsi- journey exemplifying the pro- works by contemporary eastern cally wrong with this; it simply found marriage of word, music Europeans Erkki-Sven Tuur and doesn't give new and u~tusual and spirit". Part's music is often Peteris Vasks. High praise again Jim: In_ a smaller institution, like Acadia, you don't just teach voice, you're also teaching vocal diction, vocal pedagogy. As a conse uence ou've ot half- choral repertoire that much of a paired with the music of J.S. Bach to Lawrence Cherney and chance to be heard. Well, I'm on choral programmes, and Soundstreams for bringing in happy to report that Valentine's indeed, on Feb. 4, the choir will another of the world's great Day has been relegated to the also be performing Bach's Christ choirs to perform intriguing card and flower shops and, in lag in Todesbanden and Singet repertoire. terms of creative programming, dem Herrn. (As I pointed out in this is one of the most exciting my last column, there's a particumonths Earlier in the day on Feb. 6, the of choral music in recent larly wrenching conflict that Mississauga Choral Society - in memory. night: The Tafelmusik Chamber the middle of its 25th anniversary Behind the Scenes ... continued from page 11 said. At the end of my training it was ''Now we will sing this Schubert song as an exercise." Beware vocal exercises that are not musical I once took some lessons with a teacher in Vienna who wanted me to make noises like I was straining on the pot. Dumb as I was in those days, I did not stay long with him. A student should never have to make ugly sounds in order to make beautiful sounds. Although education allows you to make a bad sound without injury. Me: Good technique? Jim looks thoughtful: In 1970 I was at a concert at Alice Tully Hall in New York. Jenny Tourel singing, with James Levine accompanying. She was marvellous, a bright sound, from iff to ppp it was all music. Jenny Tourel was born in 1900. Now, THAT is good technique. Her students are all teachers now. Me: Your resume shows a BM (Performance) from Baylor, BME from Akademie for Musik in Vienna, then back to Baylor to do an .MM. and back to Vienna for some post~grad masterclasses at Hochschule for Musik. Then Acadia University for 22 years. hour, half-hour, half-hour -- no time to take a little break. The students are under pressure, too, there is maybe one performance class a week and that's where the time and attention go. They're singing arias the first year! That has nothing to do with building basics. No choral work! If I had my way they'd do nothing but! Now, who is going to allow you to do that? Reflexes, reflexes, it's all about reflexes! Me: Do you recommend that students avoid performance? Jim: I founded the Acadia University Opera Studio, our first production was Cosi fan tutte. Cosi was, in hindsight, too long and too ~ard. During my sabbatical year I went to England, I attended a I 0-day workshop in Hitching with Opera Restored, given by John Edwards. I said "John Edwards, I want you to come to Acadia." We did that for two years, it was good for the kids. Dance and the opera, we borrowed costumes from New York, from Dalhousie. But even so, for the last five years I was at Acadia I laid down the baton, I said no more. If I had my way, first year there would be no performances at all. You can't set teaching patterns if you have to interrupt for a performance. Me: How should a student choose a voice teacher? Jim: First, ideas; what are the teacher's ideas about breathing, how the head voice is produced, how to shape vowels. Look for a teacher who encourages questions and has answers, good ideas and good reasons why. Younger students may be intimidated at the idea of asking questions. Always ask why. If your professor says, "because I say so," that's not good enough. If you move a muscle, you have to know how to do it. At the end of it all, a student has to be able to teach themself Me: Would you take a student who doesn ~ have a good voice? Jim looks thoughtful again: At least a modicum of talent. Four years of education for someone with an average talent can become something which is satisfying in itself and they can use it to give and extend themselves. But I cannot teach a doorknob to sing. I cannot teach someone to be musical. Me: What can a teacher expect of a student? - Jim: Some intelligence, the will to work , a healthy attitude, they should love singing, and want to make a better sound, they should want to extend themselves and their experience. A student must be willing to accept new ideas and make changes - I used to require recorder, for example -­ you learn how to shorten and lengthen a column of air! You should be able to tell if you've got the right teacher in Estonian Philharmonic Choir. season - performs a major work of Derek Holman's: A Song to David. Also on the a new composition by Canadian David Passmore, and the familiar Chichester Psalms of Bernstein and the Requiem of Maurice Durufle. 4 to 6 months. It's really about sense and trust, if the teacher doesn't make sense, how can you trust them? If they do make sense, then give them a chance. A good teacher will not allow a student to waste time. Me: Or money? Jim: One thing I learned is you can't afford not to study with the best. When I went back to learn how to sing, I borrowed. Me: Do you like your work? Jim: It's a wonderful profession. I'm crazy about teaching. I was a ministerial student for one year, and I still have a bit of that zeal. I have no thoughts of retiring, ever, well... maybe when I'm 98... I can think of no better way to die than with my boots on, teaching . .

On Februacy 8, Robert Cooper and the Toronto Mendelssohn Youth Choir offer Classics by Youth. The programme features early rarely-heard choral works by Mendelssohn, Mozart, Schubert and others. Between Feb. 18 and 20, Timothy Eaton United Church is offering a singing workshop in "Village Harmonies and New Shape Note. music". As exemplied by the 18th centucy England composer William Billings, and featured in many recordings by the incomparable Boston Camerata, there is a unique New England choral performance tradition. This came out of the habit of splitting the soprano and tenor sections of the choir and having half of each section sing the other part and octave higher orlower as the case may have been. By doing this, a rich and special choral timbre is instantly achieved. You are asked to come and Jearn more. Led by Moira Smiley, from Indiana, the workshop will culminate in a performance at the Church of the Holy Trinity on Feb. 20 at 2 pm. For more information, call 925- 8494 x303. Though it's not strictly a choral event, I will nonetheless draw attention to the vocal recital of the young tenor sensation Michaef Colvin on Februacy 24 at the Glenn Gould Studio. CQivin, a member of the Canadian Opera Company's Ensemble Programme, made a big splash last year when he stepped in at the last minute to perform the role of the Count in Rossini's Barber of Seville. 'He's a former ~Ma AuclairM.Mus. Lyric Soprano A rich and warm voice rombined with an impeccable presentation! *Available for operas, oratorios, recitals, orchc;stral works, etc ... *Great packages for weddings, corporate events or any special occasion! * RCM registered teacher (private lessons for all ages I levels) *Also offering coa~hing in French diction (416) 630-5786 lauclair@ member of the Victoria Scholars and came up through the ranks of the St. Michael's Choir School. Colvin will perform a rather twee programme of works by Vaughan Williams, Quilter and Wilhm. but the concert is free and it won't be long before we're paying a great deal to hear this fabulous voice. Februacy 26 is another one of those nights where the choral aficionado will have to make a difficult choice. For the lover of Canadian Children's Opera Chorus classics, Lee .Willingham's BeU' Arte Singers present. Mendelssohn's Elijah. For the patriotic, Lydia Adams and Doreen Rao conduct the Elmer ~ler Singers and the MacMiUan Singers in Canada! A Choral Countcy. And for the film buff, The. Oriana Singers recreate the soundtrack of the poignant film Song of Survival; CHoRAL ScENE cqntinues, next page • invites applicants for the positiori of MUSIC I ARTISTIC .DIR.ECTOR Reporting to the Board of Dire~tors. and in consultation with the Artistic Advisory Committee. the Artistic Director is responsible for programming and preparing all concerts, productions and events presented by the eeoc. As a core member of the organization, the Artistic Director works with the General Manager and the Board of Directors on planning, finances, production and marketing; attends board meetings and other committee meetings as required; assists in fundraising initiatives; and develops and promotes the profile of the organization in both the national and the local community. The ideal candidate has: • extensive knowledge of choral and operatic repertoire; · • professional training and experience in conducting and performance; ' ' experience and interest in working with children; • strong communication and interpersonal skills; and • the ability to work effectively with a variety· ofartists and administrators. This is a parttime position {4-13 hours a week of rehearsal time), with . remuneration commensurate with experience. The successful candidate will be offered a one year renewable contract beginrJing July 1. 2000. • · Applications must be received by March 1st, 2000. Please submit your application to: The Search Committee. Canadian Children's Opera Chorus, 227. Front Street East. Toronto ON M5A 1E8, or fax {416) 363·5584. Please be advised that only those selected to be interviewed will be contacted. The Canadian O!ildren's Opera O!orus is committed to employment equity,

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